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50 years of IRC: Interview with Martín Rivera

Published on: 08/03/2019

We talked positive messages, capacity building and holistic approaches with our partner from Honduras, Martín Rivera.

Martin Rivera during IRC 50 interview in The Hague

Martín has been coordinating the Para Todos Por Siempre (PTPS) alliance since 2013 to facilitate collective actions for strengthening the water, sanitation and hygiene systems to achieve universal and sustainable access (SDG6). 

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of IRC?

MR: My first association with IRC is innovation and creativity but at the same time solidarity to share experiences and to create local capacities in the WASH sector. IRC is a WASH reference worldwide. It is one of the big institutions that has always strengthened sector mechanisms and impact.

You are coordinating the Para Todos Por Siempre initiative in Honduras. Can you tell us a bit about your other links with IRC?

MR: Initially I had to opportunity to interact with IRC when the organisation started working in Honduras on strengthening the capacity of the national networking system for the water and sanitation sector, so we worked together with the Honduras Water and Sanitation Network (RAS-HON), since I was the knowledge management coordinator of that network.

At other times I was holding capacity building workshops or working with IRC on knowledge management. I was lucky because they trained me, they give me different tools and I attended different workshops. At the same time, I had the opportunity to grow as a professional by interacting with other national and global organisations in the sector. Honduras is a small country and we do not have that kind of communication coordination. IRC opened a window or door for different actors and me through which we got to see the rest of the world.

That is really nice to hear. Do you have a nice anecdote or a story from all these experiences to share with us?

MR: I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on process documentation. As an engineer, I did not have any communication skills. It was really interesting to meet Dick de Jong, IRC's former director of communications. He told me the following: "I see you have interest so if you want to do it, you can do it." That was a very positive message for me. It really helped me open my mind and see that if I am interested and want to do something, I can try and try and will eventually manage doing it.

Very true. How about IRC's tools? Have they helped you in any way?

MR: IRC has many tools that helped me learn about different topics like governance, integrity, transparency, Triple-S service delivery. Now we are working with building blocks of the WASH system. We are also applying the theory of change methodology for strategic planning. But the permanent topic that comes back in learning from IRC is facilitation skills and capacity building.

What is your message for the future of IRC and the WASH sector?

MR: I think the vision of the sector needs to be more open and have a more holistic approach. We need to market the sector better, show our importance and impact, and at the same time strengthen the connection between actions in the WASH sector and other sectors, like the health sector, education or agriculture. I think that the sustainable development goals help us get out these messages and act on them. And there is a great opportunity for IRC here to help us realise these changes.



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